The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Charles Bryant


 
Grave Number 606

Here is an interesting combination. On top of the gravestone (shaped like a scroll) you have a bird with a twig in its beak. At the base of the scroll, a single flower. It’s a naturalistic representation, but carries with it quite a complex meaning, which would only really have meant something to the family and friends.

The bird is a dove, and it’s carrying an olive twig.  The flower at the base is a rose. The three elements don’t quite make sense in conjunction with each other.

The dove is commonly used to symbolise the Holy Spirit – ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove’, but more specifically in this case is the association with the biblical story of Noah and the great flood. When the dove returned to the ark with an olive branch from the Mount of Olives in its beak, it was a sign of peace and God’s forgiveness, but also the dawn of a new fertile growing season.  The rose has a much more ‘English’ domestic feel to it.  ‘Charlie’ Bryant was a gardener. (He married Mathilda Rosetta in c. 1903 and their daughter Beulah May is buried at the top in Plot 1150. They were living at 49 Charles Street in 1911.)

So, the three elements – the dove, the olive branch and the rose, in fact link together in a poignant reference to Charlie’s occupation and a life spent in the fertile occupation of tending English domestic gardens.


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